Monday, March 8, 2010

The YA Bandwagon is Getting a Lil Crowded

With the success of books like Harry Potter, Twilight, The Book Thief, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, we all know that the YA market is exploding.

And, of course, crossover potential has multiplied, and now everyone wants in. Susan Carpenter of The LA Times has some interesting things to say about the recent genre developments:

It used to be that the only adults who read young
adult literature were those who had a vested interest -- teachers or librarians or parents who either needed or wanted to keep an eye on developing readers' tastes.

But increasingly, adults are reading YA books with no ulterior motives. Attracted by well-written, fast-paced and engaging stories that span the gamut of genres and
subjects, such readers have mainstreamed a niche long derided as just for kids.

Thanks to huge crossover hits like Stephenie Meyer's bloodsucking "Twilight" saga, Suzanne Collins' fight-to-the-death "The Hunger Games" trilogy, Rick Riordan's "The Lightning Thief" and Markus Zusak's Nazi-era "The Book Thief," YA is one of the few bright spots in an otherwise bleak publishing market. Where adult hardcover sales were down 17.8% for the first half of 2009 versus the same period in 2008, children's/young adult hardcovers wer
e up 30.7%.

"Even as the recession has dipped publishing in general, young adult has held strong," said David Levithan, editorial director and vice president of Scholastic, publisher of "The Hunger Games," as well as of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books, the series largely credited with jump-starting this juggernaut of a trend.

"You go on the subway and see 40-year-old stockbrokers reading 'Twilight,' " said Levithan, himself a YA author. "That wouldn't have happened five years ago."

Read the rest of the article HERE

Anyone who knows me is aware that I'm kind of a YA freak. I love it. I could read YA forever and be perfectly content. And while I've been obsessed since it was actually age-appropriate, I must admit I'm fearing the current state of YA a little bit.

It's true that the YA market is one of the strongest markets in the industry right now. It's growing in subject, audience, and style. Yes, it's a fabulous thing. But I feel like so many adult authors are just jumping on the bandwagon. They don't have a YA vision. They take an adult idea--often on that didn't sell for adults--and just adapt it for the kiddies. Everyone wants to write YA because it's what's selling. And frankly, that's just depressing.

What makes YA so wonderful is the power it can give a reader, the comfort, the reminiscence, the life lessons. The books you read as a child and as a young adult shape who you become. Or at least that's what I believe. They teach you how to live and sometimes how not to live. But when everyone and their mother is writing YA, it's so powerful anymore. The more the market is flooded with YA-converted authors, the more sub-par YA there is on the shelves. There's something so special about a good YA novel, and I'l admit that I'm scared that quality is going to start to fade.

No comments:

Post a Comment